We have all done it. Whether it was once, or numerous times, we have relied on Google Places to pinpoint the closest businesses to where we live… or quite frankly, where we are standing at any given moment. It is a luxury many of us take for granted. But, let me ask you something:
Do you have a business that serves customers at the address listed on your Google Places account?
Yes? You’re safe.
Do you have a business that does not serve customers at the address listed on your Google Places account, but serves elsewhere?
Yes? Then quickly ensure the steps below before your listing is vanished from Google Maps… likely without any warning.
In 2012, Miriam Ellis shared the bitter truth with us about the ‘hush hush’ policy change that Google enforced on your local businesses. Google Help Files summed up the new policy in this quote:
“Don’t receive customers at your location? Serve customers at their location? Select the “Do not show my business address on my Maps listing” option within your dashboard — if you don’t hide your address, your listing may be removed from Google Maps.”
Are you reading this with your jaw dropped, because you have fallen victim to the “hide your address” policy change? Don’t fret. This problem is fixable. If you own a business that does not serve customers at the address given on your Google Place account, change your settings to “hide address.” It’s as simple as that.
As you can imagine, this policy change has made waves with SEO specialists and local business around the world. The unfortunate matter is that a master-minded company like Google would refrain from making this kind of policy change viral, or ‘big news’. They have the power to inform the public of anything and everything the moment you touch your phone or laptop.
Why did this important policy change float under-the-radar? I suppose it’s not a matter of why, rather, what do I need to do in order to protect my business from disappearing on Google Maps?
As Miriam addressed in her release, there are three basic business models that can direct you to the green light. Once you determine which of these categories best suits your business, you’ll know exactly what to do. [Insert sigh of relief here].
Group 1: Your business is an auto shop, and you serve all customers at the listed address. SHOW YOUR ADDRESS.
Group 2: Your business is home-based; you serve some clients off-site, and some at your listed address. SHOW YOUR ADDRESS.
Group 3: You work from home and do not serve any of your clients at the listed address. HIDE YOUR ADDRESS.
The good news is, since 2012, the “hide address” function does not negatively affect your local rankings or visibility on Google. If you are a latecomer to this news, you aren’t doomed. At this very moment, you can login to your Google Place settings and change it to “hide address.” If your business listing has been invisible in the meantime, it will magically pop back onto Google Maps for the universe to see. As if nothing ever happened. Phew!
We can use this situation as a learning tool for the future. As powerful as Google is, there are innumerable underlying policies and conditions, that if tweaked, there’s a good change we won’t catch wind of it… anytime soon for that matter.
When you find extra time, or have an assistant looking for more tasks, take a moment to gander at your profile and settings. Research “Google policy changes” and you will find the most up-to-date (important) changes that could affect you and your business.
Otherwise, sit back, relax, and wait for the locals to come knocking on your door.
Allow us to stay keep up with the ever changing environment we call the internet for you. What will your Majesty Marketing Solution look like? www.MajestyMarketingSolutions.com
Written by: Meghan Smith